Rob Chudzinski is returning to the Cleveland Browns as head coach after two stints as an assistant with the National Football League team.
The 44-year-old Chudzinski succeeds Pat Shurmur, who was fired Dec. 31, the day after the Browns ended the season 5-11 and finished their two years under him with a 9-23 record. Chudzinski will be the Browns’ 14th head coach.
Chudzinski spent the 2004 season with the Browns as tight ends coach and 2007-08 as offensive coordinator. In 2007, he directed Cleveland to its best offense in terms of total yards (5,621), passing yards (3,726) and points scored (402) since the club’s return in 1999, the team said in a statement on their website last night.
In 2011, his first year with the Carolina Panthers, Chudzinski tutored quarterback Cam Newton, who became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and set a league record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 14. The Panthers also became the first team in league history with three 700-yard rushers in DeAngelo Williams (836), Jonathan Stewart (761) and Newton (706).
The Panthers also set club records for total yards (6,237) and first downs (345) in 2011, one year after experiencing franchise lows in both categories. Carolina scored 48 touchdowns after recording 17 the year prior to Chudzinski’s arrival.
The Panthers also moved from last in total yardage to seventh, marking the biggest improvement in the league since the St. Louis Rams went from 27th in 1998 to first in 1999.
Chudzinski will be introduced today by the team.